Thursday, 21 January 2021

Can we heal ourselves using functional medicine, asks Ruth

Ruth Green is a degree-qualified nutritional scientist now working in Henley town centre. Here she asks if we

Ruth Green is a degree-qualified nutritional scientist now working in Henley town centre. Here she asks if we can heal ourselves using functional medicine, in which she is also a graduate

I OFTEN get asked about functional medicine and its place in the world.

As a nutritional scientist, therapist, functional medicine graduate and pilates instructor my reply is always the same: functional medicine works, applying a science-based solution integrating all body systems, personalised diet and lifestyle plans to provide a roadmap for a lifetime of wellness.

We are currently seeing an epidemic in chronic disease from asthma and diabetes to obesity, arthritis and cancer, with a pill for each and every symptom. Only treating these symptoms leads us towards a path of further illness.

I want you to consider a friend or someone you know who suffers from sadness, insomnia, loss of libido, unhappy with work and lacks interest in daily activities. Telling this person they have depression is not always helpful. Depression is not the cause of those symptoms. It is the name we give to people who share the same symptoms.

What do we do? We treat them for depression, giving anti-depressants, which work only a little better than chance, perhaps providing some reassurance that the symptoms now have a name.

In reality, the cause for the same symptoms for these people varies greatly.

So what is the true cause of their symptoms causing them to be diagnosed with depression? It may be leaky gut caused by gluten that activates an immune response producing antibodies against the thyroid, leading to hypothyroid function and depression.

It may be due to 10 years on an acid blocking medication for reflux resulting in B12 deficiency, or low levels of vitamin D or a fault in the MTHFR gene.

Each of these factors — dietary, environmental and lifestyle — all create imbalance yet all can lead to depression.

Therefore only naming a disease gives no indication of the true underlying cause.

Functional medicine is not simply about improving diet, or getting more exercise or managing stress or reducing exposure to environmental toxins, all of which are critical foundations for creating a healthy human.

It is a personalised method of getting to the roots of the symptoms, addressing the underlying cause and supporting the individual to restore balance within the body. Above all, it’s the science of creating health.

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